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Huntsville Music History Collection

Identifier: MC-53


  • Majority of material found in 1950s - 2000s

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by archives staff members.

Conditions Governing Use

This material may be protected under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) which governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. You may use the digitized material for private study, scholarship, or research. Though the University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections has physical ownership of the material in its collections, in some cases we may not own the copyright to the material. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our collections.


2 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Music came to Huntsville with the arrival of Wernher von Braun and his rocket team to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. In the fall of 1954, Arthur Fraser of Montevallo and a Huntsville cellist came together and decided to start an orchestra. The following January, both men sent out letters to local musicians to come together and form an orchestra. On February 15, 1955, forty musicians responded to the invitations, and rehearsals began in the old Butler High School band room. Fraser once remarked that the Huntsville Civic Orchestra (HCO) got off to a better start with forty musicians than the New York Philharmonic in 1842 with only sixteen members.

May 13, 1955 was the first public rehearsal of the orchestra. Later that August, the HCO was chartered and had its first board meeting. Their budget for the year was a grand total of $1,057, which included $69 for facilities rentals and $100 guest artist fees. December 13, 1955 was the inaugural concert of the HCO, which was held at Huntsville High School.

March 6 of the following year was the second concert, which featured the Huntsville Community Chorus. 1957 saw many changes to the growing orchestra’s fundraising. That September, the budget for the orchestra rose to $3,500 for the following year. The first youth concert was held on April 26, 1958. May 1959 found the orchestra well-established, and it was giving out eight concerts a year.

The 1964-1965 season was the first sold-out season. In June of 1968, the HCO officially became the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Today, the HCO is the oldest continuously operating orchestra in Alabama.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Charles Lundquist, 2010.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, and competing priorities. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
Vaughn Bocchino
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections Repository

M. Louis Salmon Library
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899 Alabama 35899 United States of America